January 23, 2003
Choose Your Metaphors Well

Doc Searls on Eldred talks about different conceptual views of the copyright battle --legal, political and metaphorical. The last is most interesting: "Watch the language. While the one side talks about licenses with verbs like copy, distribute, play, share and perform, the other side talks about rights with verbs like own, protect, safeguard, protect, secure, authorize, buy, sell, infringe, pirate, infringe, and steal."

Searls thinks that if the side on the commons wants to change minds, it will have to rethink the use of the word commons, and its associations to other like words, which may make people uncomfortable, and contribute to a hazy understanding of why innovation through reuse of common or community assets is important. Larry Lessig responded in agreement.

Ed Felten goes further, suggesting that public domain arguments end up sounding like freeloaders wanting to use other's work for free, where instead a more effective argument might include how entangled copyright law has become, where even record companies complain that clearing copyright for online sales is onerous.

Fish Pastures pokes fun at the Creative Commons by suggesting that it is "too common" and instead offers "The Incensing Project" to build digital incenses relegated to the "pastures." Silly, but it makes the point about the word, "commons."

Posted by Mary Hodder at January 23, 2003 07:54 AM
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